Common Horse Trot-Walk Transition Mistakes

International Grand Prix dressage trainer George Williams shows you some pitfalls to avoid when training your horse in transitions between the trot and walk. By George Williams exclusively for EquiSearch.com and Practical Horseman magazine.
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International Grand Prix dressage trainer George Williams shows you some pitfalls to avoid when training your horse in transitions between the trot and walk. By George Williams exclusively for EquiSearch.com and Practical Horseman magazine.

Avoid these pitfalls in training your horse in transitions between the trot and walk.

| Photos by Arnd Bronkhorst

| Photos by Arnd Bronkhorst

1. This is a very good example of me using no leg to stop Devon's forward motion, and such a stiff and overly strong hand to pull him backwards into the walk that he's on his forehand and behind the vertical.

2. Here's the opposite problem. Devon is leaning into the contact and pulling himself (and me) into the walk. As a result, the gait is not pure--it's neither trot nor walk. To correct him, I should sit back and up and support him more with my seat and leg which are totally ineffective here.

3. I like this image because your initial impression could be, "Oh, that's pleasant. He's thinking forward." But look a bit closer, and you see that I've completely dropped my elastic contact, Devon's back is hollow, and he's taking a very short, inactive step from behind and is not coming forward into the walk.

Instructor, trainer and competitor George Williams is the winner of the 2005 USEF National Grand Prix Championship and has competed for the U.S. (with the Westfalen mare Rocher) at CHIO Aachen. He is a three-time winner of the Grand Prix and GP Freestyle at Dressage at Devon.

George's two-part series "Tune Up Your Transitions" is in the July and August 2006 issues of Practical Horseman magazine.